20 Sep 2017 — 21 Oct 2017

Ticketing for Catch the Tiger will open closer to the festival.

VENUE: The National Facility for Human-Robot Interaction Research, UNSW, Paddington Campus

Prepare to be surprised by the unexpected within the Tiger Room. How will you respond? Catch the Tiger is a large-scale interactive game that challenges you to trap and release a tiger.

But this is no ordinary game. Designed to test how we react to changes in our environment, and to our own fluctuating anxiety levels, it is a multi-sensory physical game that you will experience with four other players.

Played in the visually striking “Tiger Room”, the game is inspired by a traditional Chinese puzzle, combined with geometry informed by George Hart’s mathematical study of orderly tangles.

Hosted within the National Facility for Human-Robot Interaction Research, Catch the Tiger is a collaboration between acclaimed architects Supermanoeuvre and researchers from the UNSW Creative Robotics Lab, the University of Sydney, Waseda University and the Black Dog Institute.

Total time required is approximately 40 minutes. The game requires 5 people to play. Register individually and play with others or sign up with 4 friends.

Catch the Tiger is an artwork open to the public. However, as the creative team wish to collect data relating to the process of playing the game, it is subject to Ethics Approval. Under the conditions of Ethics Approval, participants must be over 18 years of age and must sign a consent form in order to participate (unless participating in a “drop in” demo session). Further information is available online here [downloadable Word version] [downloadable PDF version].

The Team

Original concept: Iain (Max) Maxwell (Supermanoeuvre) and Mari Velonaki (Creative Robotics Lab, UNSW).

Puzzle design and manufacture: Iain (Max) Maxwell and Oliver Bennett (Supermanoeuvre).

Game and interface design: Mari Velonaki (Creative Robotics Lab, UNSW).

Sound design and composition: Alex Davies (Creative Robotics Lab, UNSW).

Hardware and software design and implementation: David Rye (Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney), Michael Gratton (Creative Robotics Lab and Computer Science and Engineering, UNSW) and Andrew Haig.

Experiment design/psychology: Katsumi Watanabe (Waseda University).

Mental health design advisory: Katherine Boydell (Black Dog Institute) and Jill Bennett (National Institute of Experimental Art, UNSW).

Commissioned by: Jill Bennett (National Institute of Experimental Art, UNSW).

Hosted by: The National Facility for Human-Robot Interaction Research.

Festival Commission

This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ CatalystAustralian Arts and Culture Fund.

Artist Biography


supermanoeuvre is an international award-winning architecture and innovation practice operating globally from Sydney. Supermanoeuvre works at the intersection of design and technology through the innovative use of computational design, robotics and advanced modes of fabrication, and has an exceptional track record for delivering responsive environments similar. Their projects are exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), FRAC’s Archilab 09: Naturalising Architecture, New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, and Beijing Architecture Biennale (2008; 2010). A showcase project of their collaborative multi-disciplinary practice is NEST HiLo in Zurich: a stunning innovation in smart, adaptive building design.

Mari Velonaki 

Mari Velonaki is an award-winning artist and researcher whose work is situated in the fields of Social Robotics and Interactive Art. Velonaki has made significant contributions in the areas of Social Robotics, Media Art and Human-Machine Interface Design. Since 1997 she has created interactive installations that incorporate movement, speech, touch, breath, electrostatic charge, artificial vision, and has designed three robots. Mari’s artworks have been exhibited in major museums and festivals worldwide, including: Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Art Museum, Beijing; ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Conde Duque Museum, Madrid; Ars Electronica, Linz. She is the recipient of several competitive grants, including: ARC Discovery, Linkage, LIEF, and a Fellowship; an Australia Council of the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship; and from the Australia-Japan Foundation, Fuji Xerox, AOARD. Velonaki is Professor of Social Robotics at Art & Design, UNSW. She is founder and Director of the Creative Robotics Lab at UNSW Art & Design and the Director of the National Facility for Human-Robot Interaction Research.

Katsumi Watanabe

Professor Watanabe is a leading Japanese cognitive scientist specialising in perception, social cognition and interaction science. Working within Waseda University’s Department of Intermedia Art and Science, Watanabe develops projects for Tokyo’s Miraikan museum. Watanabe has a proven track record in successful collaboration on artistic robotic and interactive projects, specifically with Mari Velonaki, the lead artist on Catch the Tiger.

David Rye

David Rye is a co-founder of the Australian Centre tor Field Robotics, which was established in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Sydney in 1999. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sydney. He has conducted extensive research in fields related to automation and control of machines, including applied nonlinear control, container handling cranes, excavation, and autonomous vehicles. Since 2003 he has worked with Mari Velonaki in the field of social robotics, designing and implementing autonomous robots that can interact with people in social spaces. Rye is recognised as a pioneer in the university teaching of mechatronics, having instituted the first Australian BE in Mechatronic Engineering in 1990.

Michael Gratton

Michael Gratton is a computer scientist based jointly at UNSW Computer Science and Engineering, and the Creative Robotics Lab, UNSW Art & Design. He is primarily investigating reasoning and perception in artificial intelligence and robotics. His research interests  include knowledge representation and reasoning, cognitive robotics, machine perception, and cognitive science. He applies his theoretical work though human-robot interaction research, and by working with practising artists in the production of interactive robotic sculptural forms and installations. Previous collaborations include a responsive interaction installation in The Imitation Game, Manchester Art Gallery (Velonaki et al, 2016); Blue Iris (Velonaki et al, 2015); and Tracker (Seymour et al, 2013).

Alex Davies

Alex Davies is an award winning Australian media artist whose practice spans a diverse range of media and experiments with interaction, technology, perception, mixed reality and illusion. He is a Lecturer in Media Arts at UNSW Australia Art & Design, and has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. He is the current recipient of a UNSW Scientia Fellowship, and has received over 20 grants including the Australia Council’s Creative Australia Fellowship.

Katherine Boydell

Dr. Boydell is a Professor of Mental Health at The Black Dog Institute, UNSW. Her research focuses on understanding complex pathways to care for young people experiencing first episode psychosis, the use of new technologies in child and youth mental health, and the ‘science’ of knowledge translation. To that end, she advances qualitative inquiry in arts-based health research. She has published more than 200 journal articles and her text Hearing Voices: Qualitative Inquiry in Early Psychosis represents the first compendium to focus on qualitative inquiry in this field. Recent projects focus on the use of body mapping to share the experiences of youth with psychosis, the general public’s experience of anxiety, and the experience of anxiety and depression in pre-teens.